I once took an elderly couple from the USA on a tour. We spent a wonderful morning together and ended up in a small café on Île Saint Louis once the woman’s knees gave out.
The man had washed out blue eyes and that sincere childish curiosity and admiration for everything typical of certain elderly people.
He asked me many questions, namely about Charlemagne, listening attentively to my answers whilst leaning his head to one side, nodding and smiling to himself.
We finished our coffee and were about to say goodbye to each other when he told me that he was a priest and that he would like to do something for me.
I just nodded in agreement.
He then pulled a short poem by William Blake, « The Lamb », out of his inside pocket and started reading it out loud for me.
The bells of Notre Dame accompanied his voice beautifully as people passed by, cars beeped in the street and birds sang.
He handed me the poem, placing his hand on top of mine when he had finished reading.
At that particular moment I knew that I loved this man and his modest wife. I loved priests, Paris and my job.
I felt blessed.
Not only is it a beautiful memory of this charming man, but also I sincerely believe that this laminated offering protects me somehow. I really do.